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Swindon mayor survives confidence vote in disabled 'mongol' row

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: December 21, 2013

By EVA JONES

Swindon mayor Nick Martin has survived a vote of no confidence called after he allegedly called disabled people 'mongols', a charge he denies

Swindon mayor Nick Martin has survived a vote of no confidence called after he allegedly called disabled people 'mongols', a charge he denies

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A Conservative town mayor has survived an historic vote of no confidence after he allegedly called disabled people "mongols" – during a council meeting about abuse they might face.

Two colleagues claim that Nick Martin, 62, asked them "do we allow these mongols to have sex?" during a presentation.

They reported the "distasteful" remark and standards officials are now investigating the claims, which Mr Martin denies.

But, despite offering his resignation if the complaints were dropped, the mayor was allowed to stay on after he survived a vote of no confidence during a heated council meeting.

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He will now face a standards hearing next year. His supporters had claimed while the investigation is underway due process should be followed and any vote of no confidence would effectively find the mayor guilty before proven so.

An amendment was passed by the council and then voted through.

Speaking after the council meeting Mr Martin, said: "I wish this vote had not taken place and I feel it did not need to. I have always cared a great deal about Swindon and the people of Swindon – each and every one of them."

At the time, Labour councillor Ray Ballman, chairman of the learning disability board at Swindon Town Council, said: "I'm very cross about it. Nobody should say that word – it quite rightly hasn't been used for years."

She said he made the remark in a discussion about how it was normal for disabled adults to have a sexual relationship, during a training meeting about abuse.

Labour councillor Junab Ali, who also claims he heard the remark, added: "It's very distasteful and discriminatory.

"He is supposed to be the number one person in Swindon as the mayor. "I think people will feel very annoyed and hurt by his words.

"He was just showing off and I felt it was totally irrelevant. He is like a bully."

Mr Martin, a Conservative councillor, has strongly denied making the comments and said he did not remember discussing disabled people having sex at all.

"There are some malicious people around who, for whatever reason, seem to like making trouble," he added.

Leader of the Tory-led council, David Renard confirmed a complaint had been made to the authority's standards board.

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